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About this text

  • Title: Henry The Eighth (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Diane Jakacki
  • Research assistant: Beth Norris
  • Research assistant (proof): Simon Carpenter

  • Copyright Diane Jakacki. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Diane Jakacki
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Henry The Eighth (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Life of King Henry the Eight.
    Butts. I thinke your Highnesse saw this many a day.
    Kin. Body a me: where is it?
    3020Butts. There my Lord:
    The high promotion of his Grace of Canterbury,
    Who holds his State at dore 'mongst Purseuants,
    Pages, and Foot-boyes.
    Kin. Ha? 'Tis he indeed.
    3025Is this the Honour they doe one another?
    'Tis well there's one aboue 'em yet; I had thought
    They had parted so much honesty among 'em,
    At least good manners; as not thus to suffer
    A man of his Place, and so neere our fauour
    3030To dance attendance on their Lordships pleasures,
    And at the dore too, like a Post with Packets:
    By holy Mary (Butts) there's knauery;
    Let 'em alone, and draw the Curtaine close:
    We shall heare more anon.
    3035A Councell Table brought in with Chayres and Stooles, and
    placed vnder the State. Enter Lord Chancellour, places
    himselfe at the vpper end of the Table, on the left hand: A
    Seate being left void aboue him, as for Canterburies Seate.
    Duke of Suffolke, Duke of Norfolke, Surrey, Lord Cham-
    3040berlaine, Gardiner, seat themselues in Order on each side.
    Cromwell at lower end, as Secretary.
    Chan. Speake to the businesse, M. Secretary;
    Why are we met in Councell?
    Crom. Please your Honours,
    3045The chiefe cause concernes his Grace of Canterbury.
    Gard. Ha's he had knowledge of it?
    Crom. Yes.
    Norf. Who waits there?
    Keep. Without my Noble Lords?
    3050Gard. Yes.
    Keep. My Lord Archbishop:
    And ha's done halfe an houre to know your pleasures.
    Chan. Let him come in.
    Keep. Your Grace may enter now.
    3055Cranmer approches the Councell Table.
    Chan. My good Lord Archbishop, I'm very sorry
    To sit heere at this present, and behold
    That Chayre stand empty: But we all are men
    In our owne natures fraile, and capable
    3060Of our flesh, few are Angels; out of which frailty
    And want of wisedome, you that best should teach vs,
    Haue misdemean'd your selfe, and not a little:
    Toward the King first, then his Lawes, in filling
    The whole Realme, by your teaching & your Chaplaines
    3065(For so we are inform'd) with new opinions,
    Diuers and dangerous; which are Heresies;
    And not reform'd, may proue pernicious.
    Gard. Which Reformation must be sodaine too
    My Noble Lords; for those that tame wild Horses,
    3070Pace 'em not in their hands to make 'em gentle;
    But stop their mouthes with stubborn Bits & spurre 'em,
    Till they obey the mannage. If we suffer
    Out of our easinesse and childish pitty
    To one mans Honour, this contagious sicknesse;
    3075Farewell all Physicke: and what followes then?
    Commotions, vprores, with a generall Taint
    Of the whole State; as of late dayes our neighbours,
    The vpper Germany can deerely witnesse:
    Yet freshly pittied in our memories.
    3080Cran. My good Lords; Hitherto, in all the Progresse
    Both of my Life and Office, I haue labour'd,
    And with no little study, that my teaching
    And the strong course of my Authority,
    Might goe one way, and safely; and the end
    3085Was euer to doe well: nor is there liuing,
    (I speake it with a single heart, my Lords)
    A man that more detests, more stirres against,
    Both in his priuate Conscience, and his place,
    Defacers of a publique peace then I doe:
    3090Pray Heauen the King may neuer find a heart
    With lesse Allegeance in it. Men that make
    Enuy, and crooked malice, nourishment;
    Dare bite the best. I doe beseech your, Lordships,
    That in this case of Iustice, my Accusers,
    3095Be what they will, may stand forth face to face,
    And freely vrge against me.
    Suff. Nay, my Lord,
    That cannot be; you are a Counsellor,
    And by that vertue no man dare accuse you.
    3100Gard. My Lord, because we haue busines of more mo-(ment,
    We will be short with you. 'Tis his Highnesse pleasure
    And our consent, for better tryall of you,
    From hence you be committed to the Tower,
    Where being but a priuate man againe,
    3105You shall know many dare accuse you boldly,
    More then (I feare) you are prouided for.
    Cran. Ah my good Lord of Winchester: I thanke you,
    You are alwayes my good Friend, if your will passe,
    I shall both finde your Lordship, Iudge and Iuror,
    3110You are so mercifull. I see your end,
    'Tis my vndoing. Loue and meekenesse, Lord
    Become a Churchman, better then Ambition:
    Win straying Soules with modesty againe,
    Cast none away: That I shall cleere my selfe,
    3115Lay all the weight ye can vpon my patience,
    I make as little doubt as you doe conscience,
    In doing dayly wrongs. I could say more,
    But reuerence to your calling, makes me modest.
    Gard. My Lord, my Lord, you are a Sectary,
    3120That's the plaine truth; your painted glosse discouers
    To men that vnderstand you, words and weaknesse.
    Crom. My Lord of Winchester, y'are a little,
    By your good fauour, too sharpe; Men so Noble,
    How euer faultly, yet should finde respect
    3125For what they haue beene: 'tis a cruelty,
    To load a falling man.
    Gard. Good M. Secretary,
    I cry your Honour mercie; you may worst
    Of all this Table say so.
    3130Crom. Why my Lord?
    Gard. Doe not I know you for a Fauourer
    Of this new Sect? ye are not sound.
    Crom. Not sound?
    Gard. Not sound I say.
    3135Crom. Would you were halfe so honest:
    Mens prayers then would seeke you, not their feares.
    Gard. I shall remember this bold Language.
    Crom. Doe.
    Remember your bold life too.
    3140Cham. This is too much;
    Forbeare for shame my Lords.
    Gard. I haue done.
    Crom. And I.
    Cham. Then thus for you my Lord, it stands agreed
    3145I take it, by all voyces: That forthwith,
    You be conuaid to th'Tower a Prisoner;
    There to remaine till the Kings further pleasure
    Be knowne vnto vs: are you all agreed Lords.